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Pompano Beach Protests 'Keep This Energy Going'

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Gerard Albert III
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WLRN
Protesters march on Atlantic Boulevard to the City Hall of Pompano Beach.

More than a month since protests began following the death of George Floyd while a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, demonstrations continued all over South Florida.

 

Black Lives Matter protesters marched to Pompano Beach’s City Hall Sunday afternoon. The group of about 30 people gathered at E. Pat Larkins Community Center before marching east on Atlantic Boulevard.

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Arthur Forrest was one of the organizers. He assembles these peaceful protests once or twice a week in Pompano Beach to enhance the movement’s momentum. 

“It’s very important for us to continually stay marching, to keep the light on the areas that need to be addressed,” Forrest said. “Yeah, laws have changed, but still more laws must change.”

 

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Credit Gerard Albert III / WLRN
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WLRN
Arthur Forrest has organized peaceful protests in Pompano Beach over the last six weeks.

Forrest said that it’s the people’s passion and determination to end racial injustice that keeps their efforts alive.

“We’re not making the people come. They’re coming because they see that change needs to be in our African-American neighborhoods,” Forrest said.

Vince Hughes was one of the protesters at Sunday’s march. He said past social activism movements required time and persistence before communities started seeing an impact from their demonstrations.

“I think of the ’60s and how the movements and the marches ran from a five to 10-year period of intense action, but it left a legacy of 10-plus years of governmental movement,” Hughes said.

 

He also spoke about the next steps people should take to solidify justice and change in their community.

“It is that time of transition from the streets to attending meetings, just be more vocal in our local government,” Hughes said. “That’s where it starts.”

Tifanny Burks is the community organizer for Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward. She said other cities around the country started cutting police department budgets after protesters kept taking their voices to the streets. For Burks, it’s all about consistency.

 

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Credit Gerard Albert III / WLRN
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WLRN
Vince Hughes calling to defund police departments before the group began their march to city hall.

“We know it’s super important to continue to come out here because that pressure, that consistent pressure, is what we know is going to lead to the changes that we need in our own communities,” Burks said.

She also said that every BLM protest fuels the group’s ongoing efforts regardless of the turnout.

“We protest whether it’s 50 people or 500 people or 5,000 people,” Burks said. “So 20 or 30 people here, that’s enough to spark a movement and to keep this energy going.”  

Protesters also gathered on Sunday to remember Bree Black, a transgender woman who was found dead with a gunshot wound at her Pompano Beach home on Friday night. People brought flowers and candles to create a small memorial for Black. Police are still looking for the shooter.

Every protester wore a mask and maintained social distancing as much as possible. One of the participants offered hand sanitizer to everyone once the group arrived at city hall.